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Method to separate cathode and anode powders from Li-ion battery production waste Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237610D
Publication Date: 2014-Jun-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 22K

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Method to separate cathode and anode powders from Li-ion battery production waste

The production of Li-ion batteries generates an important amount of waste. Parts of these wastes are cathode foils (Al-foil coated with cathode powder) and mixtures of cathode foil, anode foil and separator (e.g. jellyrolls, bi-cells, folded cells, dry cells …). Depending on the concentration of elements like cobalt, nickel and manganese into this waste streams, these fractions can be interesting for recycling.

Traditionally, you can find two ways of handling or treating these waste streams depending on the concentration of cobalt, nickel and manganese used in the cathode powders that stick to the foils.

When the cathode powder has a low value, the waste is most of the time landfilled. When the cathode powder has a value, the valuable metals are recovered out of the waste.

In literature, there is some information about heating up the waste to break the binder that sticks the cathode power to the foil. After heating the powder can be easily separated from the foil by sieving. After separation the powder is leached to recover the metals. The heating up of this waste stream has some environmental concerns e.g. creating fumes that have to be treated in an environmental sound way.

In other processes the waste is shred and as such dissolved to recover the valuable metals but these are more complex e.g. hydrogen formation and higher consumption of reagents.

The new innovative method described below separates the powder from the foils without heat or the creation of hydrogen in the recovery process. It only uses impact and friction to break the binder and remove the powder from the foils. This method is suitable to recover the powder from the cathode foil as the powder from the mixture. 

Main parts of the new flowsheet are a shredder, a mill and a separation device. In a first step, the waste fraction has been cut into smaller pieces by using a shredder. After the shredding the powder will be removed from the foils in the mill (e.g. impact mill, cutting mill, hammer mill, …) by impact and friction. To collect the powder, powder can be sieved out or separated by other mechanical separation technologies. Afterwards the powder can be recycled as input material for the typical cobalt and nickel flowsheets.

Before entering the mill, the heavy solid parts and/or iron parts have to be removed from the shredded fractions to avoid damages to the mill.

In between the different stages the material has to be transported...